We had quite the motley crew tonight:
A flamingo princess…
(The princess part was essential to the costume. When people asked if she was a flamingo, Rae said, “No. A flamingo princess.”)
And a very cuddly teddy bear…
Tonight was fun. Now the kids are all passed out with sugar comas. I should be passed out, too, and will be soon.
Stay tuned for the kids’ saintly ensembles. We’re very much looking forward to hosting an All Saints’ Party at our digs this Friday.
A happy Feast of All Saints to you tomorrow!
I recently wrote a letter to my 4-year-old birthday girl, and we actually had her family party a little over a week ago, but I’m just getting around to sharing party details.
When I told Rae we’d be having a little family birthday shindig and that she could pick a theme for it, she immediately requested a ballerina party. But when she saw a tiara pinata at Hobby Lobby, we decided to combine a princess and ballerina theme. (My girls are really into pinatas.) She asked her Gaba to wear pink to her party like her, but she wanted a pink and purple cupcake. Birthday princesses can get away with being persnickety.
I’ve recently added a few prayer requests over in The God Box (and I encourage you to share your own personal prayer requests or petitions on behalf of others as well), but here’s a summary of some people near and dear to me who could use a shout out to the Big Guy: My brother broke his jaw, knocking four teeth loose when a softball crashed into his face during a rec game. He’s recovering well but has been very hungry subsisting on mostly liquids or soft, mushy food (who really wants to slurp down soup when the temp’s an oppressive 90 degrees?). He’s also going to have to get braces at 30. Ugh.
One of his sister-in-law’s close friends who was a bridesmaid with me at the wedding was recently diagnosed with a rare form of MS. She has two young daughters and is just the neatest person. I really enjoyed getting to know her at the wedding and am aching for her as she navigates through this difficult time. Please pray.
Prayer request numero tres: I don’t write about my mama’s enduring health sagas much for various reasons but mostly because she’s very private about it and would just rather focus on the sunshine in life. She’s the kind of person who, if she read any blogs other than her own daughter’s, would stick to happy, sappy ones. The glass is always half-full in her eyes, and you’d never know the kind of chronic, debilitating pain she has to cope with every single day of her life. (I do have two friends I confide in about this and am always thankful for their listening ears.) Aside from her attitude, she also just looks incredible. She’s a beautiful woman inside and out.
But lately even Pollyanna has been feeling a little down. Mama has suffered from a rare neuromuscular condition for much of her life (she’s on a lot of the same medications as someone with MS would be). She’s been to Mayo, and they’ve seen her set of symptoms on others, but it’s a mystery disease that’s difficult to treat. She also has some autoimmune things going on, but she’d be a challenge to even House given the complexity of her symptoms. In fact, the most recent specialist she saw for new symptoms called her and joked saying that he was hoping to pull a House on her but no such luck (yet).
More recently, she’s been dealing with unexplained labile blood pressure. It can go from 180 over something to 6o over something within in a couple of hours, leaving her feeling weak and wobbly. She also has been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia (also known as the suicide disease). The condition rarely presents bilaterally, but with my mom that’s the case. This makes the doctors more weary of performing surgery to to treat the symptoms since it would have to be done on two sides, so she’s trying medications first. So far they have not been much help; the pain’s debilitating and pretty much constant. My mom’s one tough cookie so if she’s having to take it easy and rest with ice packs on her face, then the pain has to be intense. It’s so searing some days that she can’t eat and ends up vomiting.
Anyway, she had a lot of tests recently, and we were hoping all the tests would give us some answers to what’s causing the symptoms, especially the painful ones that are affecting her quality of life. What we’ve discovered so far is that she has an adenoma (tumor) in the jaw and two brain aneurysms as well as an aneurysm in the aortic region. The brain aneurysms may or may not be contributing to her pain; the other discoveries are unrelated. So now it’s off to more specialists to see if and how these things need to be treated. They will likely be treating the brain aneurysms interventionally. She has an appointment today with a head and neck specialist to see about the tumor in her jaw and how they want to proceed.
Meanwhile, the doctors will continue to try to figure out what’s causing her crazy blood pressure and to treat the facial pain. I’ve been praying that my mom gets some answers and some relief or if she doesn’t – at least not right away – she can be blessed with the grace to carry this very heavy and persistent cross. Imagine feeling like you-know-what but not having a real diagnosis or reason for your symptoms. This is another reason my mom doesn’t say much; she sometimes feels like others might think she’s a crazy, but she’s no hypochondriac (that would be my dad :-)). In fact, she’s been putting off seeing any further specialists until my husband counseled her to pursue this. (We have been so grateful to have a physician in the family. He’s been in contact with her doctors and has been reading all of her images.)
I recently texted this Saint Ignatius of Loyola quote to my mom:
“If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you and that He certainly intends to make you a saint.”